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Winter ASB

Winter Alternative Service Break is a more extensive service break which takes place during the last two weeks of winter break.  These trips vary from Spring ASB in not only the length of time but also the location.  When the ASB began in 2001, the teams were solely domestic, however these experiences have evolved to include international options.  

This Winter ASB 2014/15, six teams will serve in the following locations.  

A summary of the type of service work is provided below the location.



  • El Balsamo, Nicaragua
    El Balsamo is an agricultural area that suffers from lack of access to the national electricity grid, difficult access to clean drinking water, and an ever-shrinking rainy season to grow their crops. The students will install solar panels on homes, providing electricity and light to families for the first time.

    The extra light means that kids can complete their homework at night, brings women out of the darkness in the morning when they wake up to cook, and lets the families charge their cellphones providing crucial access to communication and important information. All of this while eliminating the polluting and dangerous kerosene candles from the home. 

    Additionally there will be work on patio gardens and latrines, which are complementary projects to a centralized solar powered pumping system for potable drinking water. The patio gardens use the greywater from kitchens to grow nutrient rich vegetables and fruits, which is important for the health of the community.

    The UN reports that only 2-3% of the Nicaraguan diet comprises of fruits and vegetables and that this malnutrition is the second-largest health concern in Nicaragua. The latrines keep the waterways uncontaminated and increase the quality of life of the community.

    [Community Partner: Green Empowerment]


  • Santa Julia, Nicaragua
    Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.  Participants in Santa Julia, Nicaragua will work directly with the community learning about the challenges they face while developing and executing long-term economic development goals.  

    The objective is to provide the community with the resources necessary to provide for their families.  Santa Julia is former Somoza family-owned coffe plantations, now owned and managed by the original inhabiting families.  Along with Panorama Services Expeditions and the Nicaraguan Compact, they have implemented a long-term effort to assist this community in developing and executing a five-year economic development plan.

    The current economic base of the community is agricultural production.  Participants will work side-by-side with members of the community's Women's Cooperative picking and processing the coffee crop, and planting, maintaining, and harvesting other crops.  Participants will also assist with the development of allied products (ie- composting-related fertilizer).  The vision is that the Nicaraguan communities will have a successful and sustainable economic base upon which to ensure social justice and economic vitality for its families.

    [Community Partner: Panorama Services Expedition]



  • Cai Cay and Los Molinos, Peru

    Participants in Peru will work at similar children centers (think Boys and Girls Club) in both Cai Cay and Los Molinos, Peru.  These projects focus on holistic instruction.  

    Cultural, moral, and educational principles are taught to the extremely poor children in the area.  The main goal is to provide the children with a solid education to expand their possibilities for a better future.  

    Participants will work closely with the children on educational and recreational projects.  They will also do general repairs and maintenance to the centers in order to provide the children with safe and healthy places to learn.

    [Community Partners: United Planet & Fe Yuna Punca]


  • Atlanta, Georgia
    Participants in Atlanta will focus on hunger, nutrition, healthcare, and poverty.  They will help to prevent or better manage chronic disease through Comprehensive Nutrition Care, which combines home-delivered meals and nutrition education as a means to reinforce the connection between informed food choices and improved quality of life.  

    Participants will also work to improve healthcare and the environment through the efficient recovery and redistribution of the surplus of medical supplies and equipment to those most in need.  Students will work alongside populations directly affected by these efforts in the communities of Atlanta and in local homeless shelters.

    [Community Partners: Project Open Hand & MedShare]


  • Charleston, SC
    Participants will work to conserve South Carolina's natural and cultural resources, preserve historic landmarks, and promote outdoor recreation through trails and greenways.  Projects will include trail conservation, maintenance, and building in various locations throughout the state.  

    The goal is to help communities grow and prosper while maintaining local character and quality of life.  Participants will assist in efforts to protect natural areas through land trust assistance or local government programs, preserve Revolutionary War battlefields, and develop greenways and the Palmetto Trail.

    [Community Partner: Palmetto Conservation]


  • Pittsburgh, PA
    Participants will assist in home repairs and renovations of low-income, elderly homeowners, military veterans, and individuals with permanent physical disabilities.  All home repair services are provided free of charge to homeowners.  They will be focusing on communities in the Allegheny County left behind during the overall economic recovery period of Pittsburgh.

    Many of our neighbors in Allegheny County have worked hard all their lives and have been active members of their community. Now, due to illness, financial limitations, high utility costs or any number of uncontrollable causes, they are unable to do the repair work in their homes to keep them safe, warm and dry. The result is often serious accidents or fall by the homeowner and deteriorating living conditions. Statistics show that over 60% of deaths of people over 65 are the result of a fall in the home and that 1/3 to 1/2 of all home accidents or falls can be prevented by making modifications to the home. 

    [Community Partner: Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh]





Applications are due on Sunday, September 21st by midnight. 


Program Details

This winter we will be coordinating three international ASB service trips and three domestic ASB trips.

We hold high expectations for participants and also ask them to have high expectations for themselves. If selected you will be part of a very small group of people with the opportunity to participate in a remarkable experience.

Applicants should consider the following when applying:

  • While rewarding, you may experience situations that are unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable for you. You will work hard, get your hands dirty, sweat a lot and be challenged physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  • The ASB program puts service at the forefront of everything we do. This is not a vacation. Facilities can be less than what you are used to at home with limited access to showers and running water (especially internationally). You should expect limited comforts.
  • The ASB program is open to all full time University of Idaho undergraduate fee-paying students.
  • Service activities may involve an element of risk.
  • The Center for Volunteerism and Social Action will provide 1 faculty/staff advisors for each team; however, students are empowered to make wise decisions in regards to their own safety and the safety of others.
  • Pre and post trip meeting attendance is mandatory and absences will not be accepted. Many more students will apply for this program than we are able to accommodate and it is expected that you will fully participate in all components of the ASB program, including meetings and trainings. If you miss any meeting, we reserve the right to replace your spot with another student. 
  • You will be required to attend a meeting the evening of Dec 28 prior to your departure. It is important that when you plan your holiday travel that you keep this in mind. All students must attend the pre-departure meeting.
  • Your actions on this trip will not only reflect on you, but also the ASB program and the University of Idaho.
  • Participants on international trips should understand that there will be limited to no contact with family and friends in the United States throughout the entire duration of the trip.
  • Pre-trip meetings/trainings will occur on Oct 9th, Oct 23rd, Nov 6th, Nov 20th, and Dec 11th from 5-7pm in the Clearwater/Whitewater Room in the Idaho Commons. A final pre-trip meeting will occur on Sunday, Dec 28th in the evening, and is mandatory for all participants.
Program fee: International trips cost $1,200 and domestic trips cost $500 (this is the cost for participants and is only a portion of the total cost, the rest of which is heavily subsidized through student fees).

Travel Dates: Monday, December 29th 2014 - Monday, January 12th 2015
Mandatory Meeting Dates: Oct 9th, Oct 23rd, Nov 6th, Nov 20th, and Dec 11th from 5-7pm in the Clearwater/Whitewater Room in the Idaho Commons. A final pre-trip meeting will occur on Sunday, Dec 28th in the evening, and is mandatory for all participants.

Application Deadline: Sunday, September 21st at midnight.

Process Details: Due to the high number of applicants, the ASB leadership team will review and evaluate all of the ASB applications, select a number for interviews and then select teams. The ASB leadership team will do everything it can to keep you informed of the process and team selections will be made by October 8th. The first all group meeting is Oct 9th. If you are selected, the program fee of $1,200 or $500 will be due on the third pre-trip meeting on November 20th. The fee will be broken down into smaller payments due on Oct 23rd, Nov 6th, and the final on Nov 20th.